It's a big house on an acre of land. The doctor who lives here spends much of his time healing the sick or working in wood. David and Bonnie Miller of Eureka designed the house and had it built about 13 years ago. Their church is right up the road, Bonnie says. A fellow church member built the house. But she sees her husband's hand everywhere.
The sign is a simple, elegant script posted next to the main door where address numbers are usually placed.
"Psalm 127:1," it says.
It's a big house on an acre of land. The street name, like the sign at the front door, references the Bible. The doctor who lives here spends much of his time healing the sick or working in wood.
David and Bonnie Miller of Eureka designed the house and had it built about 13 years ago. Their church is right up the road, Bonnie says. A fellow church member built the house. But she sees her husband's hand everywhere.
Dr. Miller built the desk and bookcases in the den, the fireplace surround in the living room, the bed in the master bedroom, the deck out back, finishing work and a fair amount of cabinetry upstairs and down. He's still working on the sunroom.
"So many of our friends are amazed," Bonnie says, "I can tell him what I want, and he can do it."
Years ago, when their children were young, they told him about a game they saw at camp, a simplistic version of pool, called carpet ball. So he built a carpet ball table for them, which is still in the basement. When Bonnie received the last quilt piece her grandmother made, a milky blue starburst pattern, he decided it needed a frame. So he built the oak frame and cabinetry surrounding it in the second-floor study. And when his father died, he built a small canoe as a tribute to him, his life growing up on the Mississippi River, and his World War II service in the U.S. Navy. The canoe, which stands on one end in the basement, serves as a cabinet for photos and memorabilia of his parents.
What's just as interesting is how - and why - he finds the time. Miller is a family practice doctor who works 60- to 70-hour weeks. He is an elder at Liberty Bible Church, where he also teaches an adult Sunday school class.
Medicine has changed since he began practicing 25 years ago.
"It's not just you and the patient anymore," he says. "It's you, the patient, the insurance company, Medicare or Medicaid."
In some ways, woodworking and practicing medicine are similar. Both are fairly exacting, precise fields that require patience. But when Miller has had a stressful day, he knows he can immerse himself in woodworking.
"It's quiet," he says. "When you deal with patients all day long, sometimes patients who are upset with you, it's nice to be by yourself and smell the oak."
He works mainly in pine and oak, particularly oak because he likes its grain, pattern and staining qualities. With woodworking, the only deadlines are the ones he sets for himself. Otherwise, he can work at his own pace, usually a few hours a week. And how the finished product turns out is entirely left to him.
The finished product of the Miller home is a joint endeavor. Bonnie decorated in deep shades of green, maroon, and mocha. A variety of subtle, but richly textured patterns show up in the upholstery, bedroom wallpaper and window treatments, most of which she made. The doors of the piano room, home to a baby grand, open onto the deck and outdoor hot tub.
While the upstairs has a bit of an old-world flavor, the basement is a bright white paean to play and sports, namely sports teams, particularly University of Illinois teams and the St. Louis Cardinals. There's a huge poster of Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays, not just because they're baseball fans but because he is their pastor's son and their oldest son's good friend. A second son happens to be good friends with Eureka native Andy Studebaker of the Kansas City Chiefs football team, which gives added meaning to the huge poster of him in the basement.
The basement also has a full kitchen. Instead of dishes, those kitchen cabinets showcase athletic medals and ribbons of their three children.
But the Millers use the basement, in fact, their entire home for more than entertaining themselves and others.
The basement kitchen is convenient because visiting missionaries and their families often stay at their home for extended periods. This summer, three youths will live with them while they work for Camp for Champions, a Christian day camp.
They open their home for church gatherings often, Bonnie Miller says. The importance of their faith is apparent throughout the home, beginning at the front door with Psalm 127:1, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. . ."
Pam Adams can be reached at (309) 686-3245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.